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Last edited 30 May 2022
A gable is a section of wall located at the end of a pitched roof, between the edges of the intersecting pitches. It is usually triangular and extends from the eaves to the ridge, although the shape and detailing depends on the particular structural system used for the roof. The term ‘gable wall’ (or ‘gable end’) is used to refer to the gable and the whole wall below it.
As well as being designed to be aesthetically pleasing, a gable should be capable of preventing water from entering the intersection between wall and roof. This can be done by carrying the roof out over the top of the end walls, or by raising the end walls above roof level to form a parapet capped with a waterproof coping.
The latter design can take several different forms in terms of its outline. Where roofs are of a steep pitch, gables are sometimes decorated with stepped or curved forms, ornamented with grotesques, statues, scrolls, and so on. A common example is a crow-stepped gable, also known as a stepped gable or corbie step, which takes the form of a stair-step pattern at the top of the stone or brick parapet wall which projects above the roofline. They can be designed with integral windows or vents (as in the above image).
Rather than constructing gables from masonry, they can be formed by prefabricated spandrel panels. These panels can be installed quickly by crane, and mean that roofing contractors can complete the wall elements under the roof rather than having to get brick or block layers to return to site.
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